No animals removed after officials search SAFFARI Rescue

Officials searched after 3 reports of abuse


FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Flagler County Sheriff’s Office detectives searched SAFFARI Rescue Tuesday after receiving an anonymous report that animals were being neglected at the shelter.

The rescue -- a nonprofit organization at 53 County Road 330 -- houses dogs, cats and at least two pigs.

Three allegations of abuse were reported. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said it had enough probable cause that a judge signed a search warrant allowing an investigation.

Investigators found the animals were in better condition than was previously reported.

The investigation did not warrant removing animals, but the conditions appeared to be overwhelming, with 20 to 30 dogs and puppies being cared for in one building, and at least 17 cats in another enclosure.

In a gesture of cooperation, Ruth Rupprecht, who leases the land and operates SAFFARI Rescue, voluntarily agreed to turn over most of the animals to the Flagler Humane Society. She faces daily code enforcement fines from Flagler County because the site is not properly permitted.

Twenty puppies, five adult dogs and at least nine cats were transported to the Humane Society. The animals will be examined by a vet and will be available for adoption if they’re found to be healthy.

No charges are planned at this time.

The Sheriff’s Office encourages anyone to report animal abuse by calling 386-313-4911.